Family, friends of those at risk of opioid overdose can now get free naloxone kits in Manitoba
The province has implemented a new policy that allows registered Take Home Naloxone Distribution Sites to provide naloxone kits to family and friends of people who are at risk of opioid overdose.
WINNIPEG -- The province has implemented a new policy that allows registered Take Home Naloxone Distribution Sites to provide naloxone kits to family and friends of people who are at risk of opioid overdose
Naloxone is a medication used to block the effects of opioids, like heroin, fentanyl, and oxycodone, in an overdose situation.
“I think these changes are beneficial and we have been advocating for this for some time,” said Rebecca Rummery, co-founder of Overdose Awareness Manitoba.
Free take-home naloxone kits have been available from registered distribution sites across the province since January 2017, but only to those at risk of an overdose.
“An individual experiencing an overdose cannot use a kit on themselves so a family member, friend or a member of the community would have to use it on someone experiencing an overdose,” said Rummery.
According to a provincial spokesperson, between January 2017 and July 2019, more than 3000 take-home naloxone kits were distributed to registered sites for people at risk of opioid overdose.
MIRRORING BRITISH COLUMBIA
Bryce Koch, a harm reduction nurse with Project Safe Audience, agrees with the new policy.
“It's the friends and families of people who use drugs who are the ones who administer naloxone first and we should acknowledge their lived experience and give them the training to be able to distribute.”
But Koch believes the province should mirror what British Columbia is doing.
“In B.C., anyone can distribute, as long as you have completed a training course. So peer groups (people who use substances) can get training in distribution and easily distribute to the population that most needs these kits,” said Koch.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control reports there are over 1600 distribution centres in British Columbia, a big increase from the 59 listed in Manitoba.
To find out where free kits are available, go online to the Overdose/Naloxone kits link on the Public Health website.